Sunday, October 11, 2009
Multiculturalism in Classroom
School of Fish in a Big Pond?
So I'm definitely mixing metaphors, but a couple months back Stanley Fish wrote "What Should Colleges Teach?", a multiple part piece, in which Fish argues that multicultural politics shouldn't be included in classroom curriculum. For those who remember Fish's name from Intro to Lit Theory courses, you'll remember he's the expressionist, reader-response proponent who a lot of people tend to boil down to a 'whatever the piece makes you think about, write on that.'
Just as that's not exactly Fish's philosophy, to say that he has no points to be made in his Times piece would ignore some of the aspects of writing and teaching grammar in context that some of my grad colleagues have admitted to omitting. Fish warns about putting a political agenda ahead of the teaching of good writing fundamentals--but all of you know this--we all use student examples to demonstrate how grammar sometimes works and doesn't.
The D&I in partnership with the EGU at UA got together and had a salon-like discussion about Fish's article, and I'm thankful to those who attended, and to Jun Liu, our department chair who helped make it possible to have an academic discussion with a focus on the teaching community of graduate students from Lit and Rhet/Comp.